Dry weather in early autumn hampered the sowing and development of grains in central Europe, but crops in most parts of the European Union have started the season well, EU crop monitor MARS said on Monday.
"Favourable conditions for the sowing and emergence of winter crops prevailed in most parts of western and northern Europe," MARS said in a monthly report.
"However, in large parts of central Europe, a strong rainfall deficit hampered the emergence and early growth of winter crops, as well as the harvesting of sugar beet and potatoes."
MARS does not give estimates of sown areas but said a lack of water and nutrients due to low humidity had compromised the emergence and early growth of crops in key producer Germany, although the window for wheat to be re-sown remained open.
In France, the EU's largest grain producer, as well as Poland, the Benelux and non-EU member Ukraine, sowing and the emergence of crops had generally gone well, though patches of winter grains had been affected by dry weather, MARS said.
In key southwestern EU producers Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria, where it is too late to re-sow, a lack of soil moisture delayed the emergence of plants in many areas, resulting in some underdeveloped crops, MARS said.
MARS was particularly concerned about European rapeseed crops. It warned last month that low rainfall and warm temperatures in early autumn had exacerbated a summer drought in parts of Europe during the sowing period for the oilseed crop.
"The sowing window for rapeseed has now closed and rapeseed areas in Germany, eastern Poland and northern parts of the Czech republic are expected to be significantly reduced," it said.
It also noted that particularly mild autumn weather in central, northern and eastern Europe had increased pest and disease pressure on rapeseed crops.
Maize and sunflower harvesting was finished in most of Europe without problems, but dry weather hampered sugar beet and potato picking, MARS said.